Canada's North is roughly 75% of the country's land mass. Despite the North's geographic significance, UNBC is one of only a few universities in Canada to have a major in Northern Studies. This program is integral to the overall mandate of UNBC and exposes students to myriad issues facing northern BC, northern Canada and northern regions around the world. It draws upon the northern expertise of faculty from a wide array of disciplines. Students will gain an understanding of the whole North - its geography, peoples, and issues.
Over the past few decades, the North has become an area of growing significance. At the centre of northern issues are climate change, resource development (renewable and non-renewable), and Indigenous rights. Related socio-economic and cultural issues, such as competing land use (e.g. recreation, protected areas) demographic concerns (migration, retention), and rural infrastructure development (e.g. transportation, services), are also important to developing the north. The Northern Studies program provides unique opportunities to discover what the North means and how it is relevant to Canada and the world.
Graduates of Northern Studies can expect to find work in northern related agencies of all levels of government: federal, provincial and local. Employment opportunities also exist in northern economic development, social service agencies, resource management, resource exploration and development companies, environmental nongovernmental organizations, research institutions, northern park management, conservation, journalism, education and health.
UNBC has a number of research institutes that focus on the social, political, and economic concerns of northern BC and similar regions elsewhere. These include: the Community Development Institute, the Health Research Institute, the Natural Resources and Environmental Studies Institute and the John Prince Research Forest co-managed with the Tl'azt'en Nation. Many faculty members at UNBC engage in northern and arctic research and have successfully secured research funding through Canadian and international funding agencies. A number of students have also secured research funding from the Northern Scientific Training Program and other public and private funders.
UNBC and the Northern Studies program is an active member of the University of the Arctic, the Association of Canadian Universities for Northern Studies (ACUNS) and the Arctic Research Consortium of the United States (ARCUS). It also has strong connections with other post-secondary institutions across the circumpolar north, including exchange agreements for students and faculty with other northern universities in Russia, Scandinavia, and the US. For more information visit the UNBC International Exchange and Student Programs.